Brett VanVeller, assistant professor of chemistry, has been honored with a 2019 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award is the most prestigious honor in support of early-career faculty members who serve as exemplary teacher-scholars through outstanding research, teaching excellence and the integration of education and research.
“I am honored to receive a CAREER award. Not only will it support the research activities of our lab, but it also helps us promote the central science of chemistry to young students and the general public,” said VanVeller.
VanVeller will use part of the $640,000 award, over the next five years, to develop, build and disseminate a series of science-education kits for students in grade school and middle school. Designed to spark an early curiosity for chemistry and science—these interactive kits are focused on play-based learning and demonstrating science through storytelling. In addition, the kits are uniquely affordable because they are portable and reusable.
A strategic partnership between VanVeller and the Science Center of Iowa will create opportunities for area teachers to learn about the kits and how to successfully integrate them into their classroom science curricula. The kits will be offered to educators in the Des Moines Community School District.
The primary focus of VanVeller’s research explores how interactions with the local environment and/or other molecules affect the malleable excited states of certain dyes. Reactions that break chemical bonds can be effectively turned on and off, even in the presence of full illumination. The ability to manipulate this type of reactivity will unlock new capabilities in chemical synthesis, materials fabrication and biological delivery.
For additional information about VanVeller’s research, click here